I saw an little Asian boy (ok by little I mean maybe 13 or 14), walking out of Garden City, happily sipping his bubble tea. Then, a few steps away from my car as he was about to turn the corner, he hid his bubble tea in his jacket. I wondered why he did that, and then I saw.
From the opposite direction, a group of kids from his school (all wearing the same school blazer from Applecross Senior High, I think) were walking towards him. He didn’t want them to see him holding his bubble tea.
I imagine it was because he didn’t want to be stereotyped as a typical Asian kid who loves bubble tea. My first reaction to that thought was, who cares!
But when you’re a teenager in high school, you do care. You want your peers to accept you and think you’re cool (or whatever word or phrase kids use these days). You don’t want them to point and laugh, even if, in the grand scheme of things, their opinion really doesn’t matter. It matters here and now.
Perhaps a few years from now, he’ll think back on that incident and smirk to himself. Or he might not remember it at all.
I know I will.